COVID-19

Articles and publications written by the CCC about the COVID-19 Coronavirus Pandemic.

Scrapping COVID Patents: PM Johnson needs to resist populist calls

London, UK –  In a report published today by the House of Commons International Trade Committee, Members of Parliament suggested that the UK enact compulsory licensing for COVID-19 treatments. Under compulsory licensing laws, the government has the power to revoke patent rights from innovators and companies if a discovery they made provides treatment or protection related to a national health emergency. Fred Roeder, Health Economist and Managing Director of the Consumer Choice Center warns that eroding intellectual property will end up harming patients, and will hurt the UK’s chances of accessing a cure or vaccine:

“Compulsory licensing is threatening to move the goalposts on how intellectual property rights are protected. If domestic and foreign companies are prevented from retaining their patent licenses, this could hinder the production and supply of essential goods to the UK further than they already are. A compulsory licensing bill could place even more barriers for pharmaceutical innovators, which could discourage these kinds of companies from investing or listing their drugs in the UK.

There are other solutions to ensure easy access to vaccines and drugs. For example, mutual recognition of FDA and EMA approvals and fast-tracking some types of medicines would do a lot of good. In order to be prepared for the next pandemic, we need to increase, not curb, incentives for innovation. Right now we need to do everything that makes pharmaceutical research more agile – Introducing compulsory licensing on COVID drugs and vaccines is not the right way. Any help it provides in the short term will jeopardize our ability to tackle this health crisis in the long run,” concludes Roeder.

Originally published here.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org

Coronavirus Will Blow Up Our Legal System, but a Liability Shield Will Help

As customers slowly trickle back into stores and workers punch back in at reopened businesses, there’s one thought on all our minds: caution.

Protective plastic shields and screens, face masks and gloves are a new reality, and it is a small price to pay for coming out of state-mandated lockdowns.

But months into the all-encompassing coronavirus pandemic, there is another cost many entrepreneurs and administrators fear: future legal bills.

While voluntary precautions will be plentiful in every situation where a customer, student or worker is getting back out in the world, the nature of the virus means it is almost certain that someone, somewhere, will catch the virus. That means huge potential legal ramifications if a person wants to hold an institution or business liable.

There is already a demonstrable lawsuit epidemic. Between March and May of this year, more than 2,400 COVID-related lawsuits have been filed in federal and state courts. These cases are likely to blow up our legal system as we know it, elevating accusations of blame and clogging every level of our courts that will keep judges and lawyers busy for some time.

That is why the idea of a liability shield for schools, businesses and organizations has taken up steam.

In a recent letter to congressional leaders, 21 governors, all Republicans, called on both houses of Congress to include liability protections in the next round of coronavirus relief.

“To accelerate reopening our economies as quickly and as safely as possible, we must allow citizens to get back to their livelihoods and make a living for their families without the threat of frivolous lawsuits,” the governors wrote.

While a liability shield will not give cover to institutions that are negligent or reckless, and reasonably so, it would ensure that blatantly frivolous or unfounded lawsuits are not allowed to go forward.

For the average entrepreneur or school administrator, that would help alleviate some of the worries that are keeping many of these instructions closed or severely restricted.

No one wants customers or workers catching the virus in these environments, but creating 100 percent COVID-free zones would be next to impossible, a fact many scientists are ready to acknowledge. That’s why state governors, lawmakers and business leaders want to ensure that our states can open back up, but be cognizant of the risk.

There is still plenty of uncertainty related to the transmission of the virus, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has pointed out, and that is why a liability shield — at least for those who follow health and safety recommendations — makes sense. Businesses and schools that willfully endanger citizens through negligence though, should rightfully be held liable.

This is the idea currently being debated in the nation’s capital, as Senate Republicans have stated they want a liability shield to avoid a lawsuit contagion.

Unfortunately, the idea is likely to be mired in a toxic partisan death spiral. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York decries such a plan as “legal immunity for big corporations” and reporting on the topic has resembled such.

But these protections would most benefit small businesses and schools that follow health recommendations and still find themselves the subject of lawsuits.

It is no secret that many attorneys see a potential payday in the wake of the pandemic. There are already hundreds of law firms pitching “coronavirus lawyers” and many have reassigned entire teams and departments to focus on providing legal advice and counsel for COVID-19 cases.

And much like in consumer fraud cases before the pandemic, a favorite tool of coronavirus tort lawyers will be large class-action lawsuits that seek huge payouts. These are the cases that usually end up lining the pockets of legal firms instead of legitimately harmed plaintiffs, as a recent Jones Day report finds. And that does not even speak to whether or not these cases have merit or not.

In debating the next level of pandemic relief for Americans, including a liability shield would be a great measure of confidence for responsible and cautious businesses and institutions in our country.

Whether it is the local community college or bakery, we must all recognize that assigning blame for virus contraction will be a frequent topic of concern. But those accusations must be founded, and be the result of outright harmful and negligent behavior, not just because students are back in class or customers are once again buying cakes.

A liability shield for the responsible citizens of our country is not only a good idea but necessary.

Originally published here.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org

GOP bill would deter frivolous COVID lawsuits

As customers slowly trickle back into stores and workers punch back in at reopened businesses, one thought dominates all our minds: caution.

Protective plastic shields and screens, face masks and gloves are a new reality, and it is a small price to pay for coming out of state-mandated lockdowns. But months into the all-encompassing coronavirus pandemic, there is another cost many entrepreneurs and administrators fear: future legal bills.

While voluntary precautions will be plentiful in every situation where a customer, student or worker is getting back out in the world, the nature of the virus means it is almost certain that someone, somewhere, will catch the virus. That means huge potential legal ramifications if a person wants to hold an institution or business liable.

A demonstrable lawsuit epidemic already exists. Between March and May of this year, more than 2,400 COVID-related lawsuits have been filed in federal and state courts. These cases are likely to blow up the legal system as we know it, elevating accusations of blame, clogging every level of our courts and keeping judges and lawyers busy for some time.

That is why the idea of a liability shield for schools, businesses and organizations has taken up steam. In a recent letter to congressional leaders, 21 governors, all Republicans, called on both houses of Congress to include liability protections in the next round of coronavirus relief.

“To accelerate reopening our economies as quickly and as safely as possible, we must allow citizens to get back to their livelihoods and make a living for their families without the threat of frivolous lawsuits,” the governors wrote.

While a liability shield will not give cover to institutions that are negligent or reckless, and reasonably so, it would ensure that blatantly frivolous or unfounded lawsuits are not allowed to go forward. For the average entrepreneur or school administrator, this would help alleviate some of the worries that are keeping many institutions and businesses closed or severely restricted.

No one wants customers or workers catching the virus in these environments, but creating 100 percent COVID-free zones would be next to impossible, a fact many scientists are ready to acknowledge. That’s why state governors, lawmakers and business leaders want to ensure that our states can open back up, yet be cognizant of the risk.

There is still plenty of uncertainty related to transmission of the virus, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has pointed out, and that is why a liability shield — at least for those who follow health and safety recommendations — makes sense. Businesses and schools that willfully endanger citizens through negligence, though, should rightfully be held liable. This is the idea currently being debated in the nation’s capital, as Senate Republicans have stated they want a liability shield to avoid a lawsuit contagion.

Unfortunately, the idea is likely to be mired in a toxic partisan death spiral. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York decries such a plan as “legal immunity for big corporations” and national reporting on the topic has suggested as much.

But these protections would most benefit small businesses and schools that follow health recommendations and still find themselves the subject of lawsuits. It’s no secret that many attorneys see a potential payday in the wake of the pandemic. Already hundreds of law firms are pitching “coronavirus lawyers.”

And much as in consumer fraud cases before the pandemic, a favorite tool of coronavirus tort lawyers will be large class-action lawsuits that seek huge payouts. These are the cases that usually end up lining the pockets of legal firms instead of legitimately harmed plaintiffs, as a recent Jones Day law firm report finds. And that does not even speak to whether these cases have merit or not.

Whether it’s the local community college or bakery, we must all recognize that assigning blame for virus contraction will be a frequent topic of concern. But those accusations must be founded, and be the result of outright harmful and negligent behavior, not just because students are back in class or customers are once again buying cakes. A liability shield for the responsible citizens of our country is not only a good idea but necessary.

Yaël Ossowski is deputy director of the Consumer Choice Center. This article was published in the Waco Tribune-Herald.

RESPONSIBLE BUSINESSES AND SCHOOLS NEED COVID-19 LIABILITY SHIELDS

A Liability Shield For Small Businesses And Schools

Part of this proposal is a liability shield for small businesses and schools, to protect them from unreasonable lawsuits related to COVID-19.

Consumer Choice Center Deputy Director Yaël Ossowski responded: “The nature of the virus means it is almost certain that someone, somewhere, will catch the virus. That means huge potential legal ramifications if a person wants to hold an institution or business liable,” he wrote in the Detroit Times.

“There is already a demonstrable lawsuit epidemic. These cases are likely to blow up our legal system as we know it, elevating accusations of blame and clogging every level of our courts that will keep judges and lawyers busy for some time.

“That’s why responsible businesses and schools that follow federal recommendations on health and safety should not be subject to outrageous lawsuits that bring our society to a halt,” said Ossowski. “Only legitimate lawsuits, based on some measure of negligence or recklessness, should be heard in our nation’s courts.”

“For the average entrepreneur or school administrator, a liability shield would help alleviate some of the worries that are keeping many of these institutions closed or severely restricted,” he added.

“Stopping the coming wave of unfounded and frivolous lawsuits will be important if we want to actually identify citizens and consumers who have been harmed by institutions that have not taken the right precautions. That’s why a liability shield is necessary for getting our country back on the right track,” concluded Ossowski.

Learn more about Consumer Choice Center’s #LegalReform campaign here

Originally published here.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org

Responsible businesses need COVID-19 liability shields

As customers slowly trickle back into stores and workers punch back in at reopened businesses, there’s one thought on all our minds: caution.

Protective plastic shields and screens, face masks and gloves are a new reality, and it is a small price to pay for coming out of state-mandated lockdowns.

But months into the all-encompassing coronavirus pandemic, there is another cost many entrepreneurs and administrators fear: future legal bills. 

While voluntary precautions will be plentiful in every situation where a customer, student or worker is getting back out in the world, the nature of the virus means it is almost certain that someone, somewhere, will catch the virus. That means huge potential legal ramifications if a person wants to hold an institution or business liable.

In this April 15, 2020, file photo, two people walk past a closed sign at a retail store in Chicago.Nam Y. Huh, AP

There is already a demonstrable lawsuit epidemic. Between March and May of this year, more than 2,400 COVID-related lawsuits have been filed in federal and state courts. These cases are likely to blow up our legal system as we know it, elevating accusations of blame and clogging every level of our courts that will keep judges and lawyers busy for some time.

That is why the idea of a liability shield for schools, businesses and organizations has taken up steam.

In a recent letter to congressional leaders, 21 governors, all Republicans, called on both houses of Congress to include liability protections in the next round of coronavirus relief.

“To accelerate reopening our economies as quickly and as safely as possible, we must allow citizens to get back to their livelihoods and make a living for their families without the threat of frivolous lawsuits,” the governors wrote.

While a liability shield will not give cover to institutions that are negligent or reckless, and reasonably so, it would ensure that blatantly frivolous or unfounded lawsuits are not allowed to go forward.

For the average entrepreneur or school administrator, that would help alleviate some of the worries that are keeping many of these institutions closed or severely restricted.

No one wants customers or workers catching the virus in these environments, but creating 100% COVID-free zones would be next to impossible, a fact many scientists are ready to acknowledge. That’s why state governors, lawmakers and business leaders want to ensure that our states can open back up, but be cognizant of the risk. 

There is still plenty of uncertainty related to the transmission of the virus, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has pointed out, and that is why a liability shield — at least for those who follow health and safety recommendations — makes sense. Businesses and schools that willfully endanger citizens through negligence though, should rightfully be held liable.

This is the idea currently being debated in the nation’s capital, as Senate Republicans have stated they want a liability shield to avoid a lawsuit contagion.

Unfortunately, the idea is likely to be mired in a toxic partisan death spiral. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York decries such a plan as “legal immunity for big corporations” and reporting on the topic has resembled such. 

But these protections would most benefit small businesses and schools that follow health recommendations and still find themselves the subject of lawsuits. 

It is no secret that many attorneys see a potential payday in the wake of the pandemic. There are already many law firms pitching “coronavirus lawyers” and many have reassigned entire teams and departments to focus on providing legal advice and counsel for COVID-19 cases. 

And much like in consumer fraud cases before the pandemic, a favorite tool of coronavirus tort lawyers will be large class-action lawsuits that seek huge payouts. These are the cases that usually end up lining the pockets of legal firms instead of legitimately harmed plaintiffs, as a recent Jones Day report finds. And that does not even speak to whether or not these cases have merit or not.

In debating the next level of pandemic relief for Americans, including a liability shield would be a great measure of confidence for responsible and cautious businesses and institutions in our country. 

Whether it is the local community college or bakery, we must all recognize that assigning blame for virus contraction will be a frequent topic of concern. But those accusations must be founded, and be the result of outright harmful and negligent behavior, not just because students are back in class or customers are once again buying cakes.

A liability shield for the responsible citizens of our country is not only a good idea but necessary.

Originally published in the Detroit Times here.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org

The WTO is Missing In Action on COVID

According to the World Trade Organisation (WTO)’s latest report to the United Nationès High-level Political Forum (HLPF), global trade will fall by between 13% and 32% in 2020 as a consequence of the economic disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. It is expected that the decline will exceed the collapse brought on by the global financial crisis of 2008-2009, and nearly all regions will suffer double-digit declines in trade volumes in 2020.

The prediction is grim but not surprising. The world was simply not prepared for the pandemic, and, while a lot can be said about whether opting for lockdowns was a reasonable decision or not, what matters more now is the logic behind rushed economic policies. International trade implies interdependence and trust, and, therefore, unilateral withdrawal from a trading relationship is damaging and costly.

More specifically, this has to do with export restrictions on medical supplies and food. In the midst of the pandemic, 72 WTO members and eight non-WTO member countries banned or limited the export of face masks, protective gear, gloves and other goods. In a similar fashion, 15 countries globally made it harder or impossible to export food.

In the said report, the WTO draws attention to the chaotic nature of those trade regulations and lack of international cooperation and coordination. Most countries didn’t notify the WTO of their intentions to restrict trade, and this tells us two things. First, the WTO needs urgent reform to justify its institutional necessity. Second, regardless of how integrated and globalised the world might seem, true power remains with nation-states.

The good news is that the WTO is due to elect its new director-general, and some candidates seem to have a good grasp of what needs to be done to reshape the organisation. One of the frontrunners Amina Mohamed, a 58-year-old minister and former WTO chair, argues that “the [WTO] rulebook needs to be upgraded because of the concerns that are being expressed about the rules not being fit for purpose.”

The persistence of nation-statism is undeniable, and the pandemic has reinforced some of its key traits such as self-sufficiency. Being able to stand on two feet instead of waiting for others to give you a hand and, generally, being concerned only with oneself has become a protectionist mantra during the pandemic. Changing the prevalent narrative in favour of more cooperation and independence is one of the biggest challenges the new WTO DG will face.

However, it’s not all gloom and doom. The COVID-19 situation has revealed that a number of essential goods, such as ventilators or medical-style face masks had previously been burdened with tariffs. Removing many of these trade barriers has been helpful during the crisis, yet these measures are equally unnecessary outside the realms of the Novel Coronavirus. This is a positive shift and the one that needs to be endorsed by the WTO and all its members individually.

The WTO’s impact has been consistently declining over time, and the pandemic exposed its weakest sides: lack of coordination. The coronavirus crisis is not the first and definitely not the last challenge we face, but whatever happens, we should preserve free trade at all costs. The WTO is a much needed organisation, but it has to change.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org

For more housing and less real estate havoc: rezone and dezone

Would help cities avoid a post-COVID commercial real estate disaster while also addressing the pre-COVID housing crunch

Un-zoning or rezoning office towers would be a way to make the overall real estate market more dynamic.

The economic havoc from COVID-19 has made the 2008 financial crisis look like a hiccup. Along with airlines and live entertainment, commercial real estate may end up being one of the hardest-hit sectors. Businesses we rely on in good times, both large and small, are facing foreclosure and bankruptcy. Retail locations, restaurants and commercial office space will become vacant and there is no guarantee demand will come all the way back to fill the void.

Part of our new reality is that millions of Canadians have seen the viability of working from home, or at least working from the office at a significantly reduced level. E-commerce giant Shopify announced last month it would become a remote-by-default workplace, with CEO Tobi Lutke going so far as to say that “office-centricity is over.” So long as productivity can be maintained, other corporate entities are likely to follow Shopify’s lead and forego the expensive overhead of downtown office space. That means a potentially significant increase in office vacancies, especially in places like Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal.

If demand does wane, firms that own office towers in major Canadian cities will be left with empty space and hemorrhaging costs. What to do? Un-zoning or rezoning such spaces would be a way to make the overall real estate market more dynamic.

At the moment, it is very difficult and time-consuming to navigate the zoning restrictions that prevent firms from converting commercial spaces into residential units. Toronto, for example, has thousands of pages of zoning rules and regulations that limit how space can be used. Applying for a space to be rezoned is onerous and takes a minimum of nine months to be completed and reviewed. In order to apply to have the city rezone a property from commercial to residential, the applicant often needs to provide: an archeological assessment, a services and facility study, an environmental impact study, an energy strategy, a heritage impact statement, a natural heritage impact study, their planning rationale, their public consultation report and a transportation impact study — on top of their own formal plans. Un-zoning or rezoning swaths of commercial space without requiring this regulatory rigamarole could be a way for local governments to help industry survive the worst of the economic downfall.

Relaxing zoning for most of these commercial real estate spaces would also ease pressures on the supply side of the housing market. In cities like Vancouver and Toronto, the supply of housing has seldom kept up with demand, which is why residential vacancy rates in these major cities are usually at or below one per cent. In Toronto, the Toronto Real Estate Board has shown how demand has generally outpaced supply by tracking average home prices. The average price of a home in Toronto has tripled since 2005. Toronto’s inability to build new housing stock hurts renters more with each passing day. In January, it was forecast that rents in Toronto would rise seven per cent in 2020, well above the rate of inflation — though of course now all bets are off.

Rather than insist that commercial real estate sit empty, rezoning could: provide flexibility in terms of occupancy, increase the housing stock to better keep up with demand, and eventually put downward pressure on home and rental prices citywide — not to mention reduce the economic hit to the owners of such space.

What makes this solution even more attractive is that un-zoning and rezoning existing buildings would be tricky to oppose. New developments in major cities like Toronto undergo months, if not years, of review and community consultation. At every turn, NIMBY (not-in-my-backyard) activists roadblock housing developments for such dubious reasons as a building’s height, shadow or footprint.

In the Long Branch neighbourhood of Toronto, NIMBY activists pushed to block the splitting of a residential lot because it would “threaten their community character and trees.” In the much-coveted Yonge and Lawrence area, the creation of eight semi-detached units was opposed because it threatened the community’s character by being 16 centimetres “too tall” and 13 centimetres “too wide,” according to the zoning bylaw. Obstructionism is so bad in Vancouver that the only way to build at a large scale (in the thousands of units) is on Indigenous land, beyond the reach of city council, which is too easily captured by NIMBYs.

Luckily for housing realists, i.e., those who understand that major Canadian cities need to increase supply, rezoning existing buildings is largely immune from these roadblocks. Buildings that have already been built are not a new imposition. All we have to do is let people move into them.

Giving rezoning and dezoning a serious look would help cities avoid a post-COVID commercial real estate disaster while also addressing the pre-COVID housing crunch. This is a win-win scenario — if only city councils have the courage and imagination to make it happen.

Originally published here.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org

Outdated regulations are hampering a coronavirus cure

The federal government’s approval process for medicines, treatments, and vaccines is broken, and red tape at the Food and Drug Administration is to blame.

FDA bureaucrats are stonewalling the search for cures for COVID-19 and other illnesses by forcing drug companies to conduct expensive and misleading testing on dogs. The FDA has gone so far as to force this upon drug producers even when it is not necessary, when efficient alternatives are available, and it has punished companies for challenging this mandate.

One company had a drug (now a potential COVID-19 treatment) held up for years and lost tens of millions in stock value because it refused to conduct an unnecessary $750,000 test on dogs after it had already run extensive animal and human testing. The company has argued that “[t]he animal studies the FDA demands … have been considered routine in the pharmaceutical industry for decades, despite the growing body of evidence discrediting such studies’ scientific value.”

The FDA’s current dog-testing mandate for drug companies traces back to 1938, in the days when doctors regularly performed ice-pick lobotomies to treat mental illness and pregnancy tests were done by injecting women’s urine into frogs. Luckily, medicine has come a long way. But even now, although companies may choose to conduct limited animal testing at times, it’s widely acknowledged that animal testing of human drugs is often wasteful and unnecessary.

The National Institutes of Health, for example, writes that “petri dish and animal models often fail to provide good ways to mimic disease or predict how drugs will work in humans, resulting in much wasted time and money while patients wait for therapies.” The NIH, the FDA, and others estimate that over 90% of drugs that pass government-mandated animal tests fail in humans because they are ineffective or dangerous, costing companies billions of dollars and decades of lost time.

Recognizing this waste, in recent years the pharmaceutical industry has increased research & development spending while also decreasing animal testing by using cutting-edge technologies such as organs-on-chips and computer models that better mimic human drug responses.

The problem is that the FDA often won’t allow these new technologies to be used, even though it claims to support them and has the authority to do so. The FDA’s decade-old ”nonbinding” guidance document that includes dog tests also states, “You can use an alternative approach if the approach satisfies the requirements of the applicable statutes and regulations.”

Yet, as the Government Accountability Office and others have documented, the intransigent FDA has refused to allow companies to use these high-tech tools to fulfill regulatory requirements. Instead, the FDA treats its nonbinding, outdated guidance as a regulation and forces drug makers to pay for unscientific dog tests that field experts, doctors, and scientists deem misleading and wasteful.

The tests demanded by the FDA cost millions and entail force-feeding puppies experimental drugs every day for up to a year, providing no pain relief, and then killing and dissecting the dogs. Approximately one-third of all dog testing in the United States is done to fulfill useless and burdensome government regulations such as these.

These slow and misleading tests also cause unnecessary delays that drive up the cost of drug development and, in turn, medical care. Estimates are that each day a drug is kept off the market due to FDA bureaucracy costs companies between $1 million and $13 million in sales. The GAO has also reported about how safe and effective medical products have been kept from consumers because of FDA’s unnecessary animal testing demands and that “manufacturers may face backlash from animal rights groups and shareholders if animal testing is conducted.” The FDA’s dog-testing red tape is creating liability, not mitigating it.

Taxpayers who pay the FDA’s bills want reform, too. According to a May 2020 national poll, 67% of taxpayers — 73% of Republicans and 66% of Democrats — support ending the FDA’s dog-testing mandate.

In the fight against COVID-19, President Trump has called on the FDA to “slash red tape like nobody’s ever done before.”

The FDA’s burdensome dog testing, which is not required by law and could be lifted at any time, has allowed dangerous drugs to reach patients and prevented safe ones from coming to market. FDA red tape can’t be allowed to hold patients, industry, and puppies hostage any longer.

Originally published here.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org

La faillite intellectuelle du “gastro-nationalisme”

A travers l’Europe, les protectionnistes du secteur alimentaire sont de retour. Avec l’excuse du COVID-19, ils prétendent que la concurrence commerciale internationale est un problème pour les producteurs nationaux. Dans plusieurs législations européennes, on propose d’imposer des quotas de produits locaux aux commerçants, dans d’autres ce sont des ministres qui font des appels au “patriotisme alimentaire”. C’est dans ces moments qu’il convient de rappeler à quel degré ce gastro-nationalisme est problématique.

Dans un article pour l’AGEFI Luxembourg, j’avais analysé les origines du mercantilisme, connu de nos jours sous le nom de protectionnisme. Par cet article, on aurait pu croire que cette pensée politique est d’origine française, i et qu’elle a ensuit été exporté à l’Union européenne à travers des mesures des subventions et standardisation des produits. Cependant, il s’avère que les exemples de protectionnisme sont présents dans tous les pays, y compris dans le monde anglo-saxon.

Les lois sur le maïs (Corn Laws) étaient un parfait exemple de protectionnisme au 19e siècle : les grands propriétaires fonciers conservateurs de Westminster ont décidé que le Royaume-Uni devait taxer fortement les céréales provenant de l’étranger, dans le but d’avantager les producteurs locaux. 

Le résultat de cette politique commerciale semble aller de soi : alors que les producteurs britanniques en profitaient, le prix des céréales a explosé dans les années 1830. Dès que la concurrence a été neutralisée, les grands propriétaires terriens ont pu augmenter les prix, ce qui a surtout nui aux classes ouvrières. Le 31 janvier 1849, par une loi votée en 1846, les résultats catastrophiques des Corn Laws sont enfin reconnus. Ils seront abrogés et les taxes à l’importation disparurent.

Remplacer le mot “maïs” ou “Royaume-Uni” par tout autre produit ou pays ne fera pas de différence sur la réalité des principes économiques : le protectionnisme ne fonctionne pas, il appauvrit les consommateurs et en particulier les plus pauvres.

Dans un reportage pour RTL Radio Luxembourg, l’eurodéputé Charles Goerens expliquait que si nos voisins décidaient d’appliquer les solutions des gastro-nationalistes, notre industrie laitière devrait réduire sa production de trois-quarts, ce qui reviendraient à la fin de l’agriculture dans le Grand-Duché. Malheureusement, ce message ne semble pas impressionner nos voisins français. Le ministre de l’Agriculture Didier Guillaume a appelé les Français “au patriotisme alimentaire” même si “la tomate française coûte plus cher”, titre RTL Radio France. Le ministre ne mâche pas ses mots dans le reste de ses déclarations sur la chaîne radio :

“Il faut que nos concitoyens achètent français. Il faut développer notre agriculture si on veut de la souveraineté alimentaire, de la souveraineté agricole. Mais comme c’est un peu plus cher, nous devons travailler afin d’être plus concurrentiels. L’agriculture française doit être compétitive. Les prix payés aux producteurs doivent être plus forts que ce qu’ils ne sont aujourd’hui.”

Depuis mars, le gouvernement français est en pourparlers avec les supermarchés du pays pour l’achat de produits frais locaux. En conséquence, les plus grandes chaînes de distribution françaises, comme Carrefour et E.Leclerc, ont transféré la quasi-totalité de leurs approvisionnements vers les exploitations agricoles locales.

D’autres pays sont allés plus loin que la France.

Le gouvernement polonais a dénoncé 15 transformateurs nationaux pour avoir importé du lait d’autres pays de l’UE au lieu de l’acheter à des agriculteurs polonais.

“Le patriotisme économique de ces entreprises suscite des inquiétudes”, a déclaré le gouvernement dans une circulaire qui est restée en ligne, même après la suppression de la liste des usines laitières ayant utilisé du lait étranger au premier trimestre 2020.

L’opposition vient de Berlin. Avant la vidéoconférence des ministres de l’agriculture d’il y quelques semaines, Julia Klöckner, ministre de l’agriculture allemande, a déclaré que la crise du Coronavirus soulignait l’importance du marché unique, et que les pays de l’UE devaient s’abstenir de mettre en œuvre des politiques protectionnistes pour aider leurs économies à se redresser.

“Les chaînes d’approvisionnement transfrontalières et la libre circulation des marchandises sont essentielles pour garantir la sécurité de l’approvisionnement aux citoyens. Et c’est pourquoi je mets en garde contre le “nationalisme de consommation”. Ce n’est qu’une force supposée qui s’efface rapidement. Nous ne devons pas mettre en péril les réalisations du marché intérieur”, dit la déclaration.

Du côté de l’Union européenne, il est intéressant de constater  que le commissaire du marché intérieur, Monsieur Thierry Breton, semble déterminé à s’opposer à tout mouvement protectionniste (du moins en dehors du cadre protectionniste déjà établi par l’Union elle-même). 

Bruxelles a lancé une procédure judiciaire contre la Bulgarie, après que son gouvernement ait imposé de nouvelles mesures aux commerçants, les obligeant à favoriser et à promouvoir les produits alimentaires nationaux, tels que le lait, le poisson, la viande et les œufs frais, le miel, les fruits et les légumes. Les détaillants sont également censés acheter 90% de leur lait et de leurs produits laitiers aux producteurs nationaux.

En dehors des considérations économiques, ces décisions produisent des  injustices sociales évidentes vis-à-vis des commerçants spécialisés. Si par exemple la Belgique obligeait les commerces de détails  de respecter des quotas, comment les magasins de spécialité polonaise pourraient perdurer? 

Héritier du mercantilisme, ce nouveau “gastro-nationalisme” est une fiction nationaliste qui démontre l’illettrisme économique de ses défenseurs . Il est essentiel que les personnes souhaitant défendre le bien-être de la population et des travailleurs se mettent en avant et défendent  le libre-échange et fassent valoir leurs points de vue.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org

Consumers from 3 Continents Say Bans in SA are Unjustified

London, UK: Consumers from countries affected especially strongly by COVID-19 struggle to understand the heavy-handed South African approach of banning alcohol, cigarette, and vape sales during the lockdowns, argues the Consumer Choice Center. These are the voices of consumers from three different continents sharing their views on South Africa’s current ban on tobacco sales:

Nazlıcan Kanmaz from Turkey: “Many people smoke in Turkey and the government is trying to disincentivize it through sin taxes that currently make up 85% of the price of a pack of cigarettes. It is a paternalistic approach, but still not as much as banning all tobacco products–such as in South Africa. Lockdowns are already quite stressful in Turkey as they are usually announced last minute, and I cannot imagine the stress levels of nicotine consumers if the government would enforce such an ill-informed paternalistic policy during a moment of global crisis.”

David Clement from Toronto, Canada: “In Canada, the government responded to COVID19 by expanding consumer choice, not limiting it. Provincial governments in Canada declared convenience stores (where nicotine products are purchased), liquor stores, and even cannabis stores essential businesses so they could meet consumer demand. South Africa would have been far better to approach the pandemic like Canada did, which was without heavy-handed bans.”

Andre Freo from Brazil: “When thinking about an efficient public policy, the positive externalities for society must be arguably greater than the destruction of value for the individual. In Brazil today, we see an unprecedented health crisis, but the respect for consumer choice and freedom prevails, even under the new reality that COVID-19 imposed on us. People are already suffering great losses in their personal and professional lives with the disease, the government should not impose another burden on society.”

Fred Roeder, Health Economist and Managing Director of the Consumer Choice Center, concludes: “We have at least six times as many COVID19 cases here in the UK compared to South Africa, but there was fortunately never a time where I was not allowed to buy vaping liquids or cigarettes in my local grocery store. Given the limitations, we experience during the lockdown, it would be even more difficult if the government would ban me from buying nicotine. South Africa’s approach towards nicotine and alcohol sales is an unparalleled overreach of government power in times of global lockdowns”.

Originally published here.


The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Johannesburg, Brasilia, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org

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